My Thoughts on Power Rangers Super Megaforce (WARNING – ANGRY RANT AND SPOILERS AHEAD)
WARNING: The following article contains a long-winded rant about the previous two seasons of Power Rangers, and of what is termed the ‘Neo Saban Era’ of Power Rangers in general. If you’ve enjoyed the past four years of Power Rangers, the writer of this article respects that viewpoint, and is sure to try to present his argument in as fair and unbiased a manner as is possible.
The Neo Saban Era has fucking sucked for four years! It is some of the worst produced garbage in PR history, beaten only by Power Rangers Operation Overdrive in my opinion. But whereas that season was the worst in terms of quality, this most recent season, Super Megaforce, may just be the single most disappointing season of all time. And yes, I AM referring to it as Super Megaforce and as its own season, because whereas Super Samurai was just a needless and pointless extension of the same story, Super Megaforce DOES actually have some distinction from Megaforce. Whether or not that distinction makes it better or worse…well, I’ll get into that later.
First off, lemme make something perfectly clear, just so we can get this outta the way: I have no issues with the actors this season. I have seen a few of them in other stuff, and while their characters may be bland (and in one case AWFUL), they all portray them as best they can with what little they’re given and with the sort of people running the show giving them direction. Also, as bland as these characters are, they still rank higher than Operation Overdrive. Why? Because when the Overdrive team lost their powers and were forced to face overwhelming odds, something that many Rangers have had to deal with in the past, they decided to up and quit, and only rejoined the fight because their lives were BORING. These Rangers, however, find themselves time and time again put in seemingly impossible scenarios, and press on. The Armada first arrives, and they run into the city to help as many people as they can. They find a missile with a drill attached that’s going to blow up the planet, and not only do they stop it, but they chuck it at the fleet in orbit, go to wipe out a few more in the Megazord, and then drop a big banner that says “Earth Fights Back” in the mall as a big flaming FU to the Armada. Their Zords are utterly destroyed by an Armada fleet that outnumbers them by millions, and they’re still resolved to fight, and wind up winning in the end. They may be dull, they may be bland, and one of them may be an unconfirmed attention-hungry stalker who steals Gia’s underwear, but Goddammit, they get fucking results. lol
You know what else is not the problem? The overall story concept. I will go ahead and put myself out here by saying that I actually really loved the cliffhanger ending for Megaforce, where if you didn’t know what to expect for next year, you weren’t sure how the hell the Rangers were gonna get through this. The ending of the first episode of the season, while perhaps making light of the fact that there’s a massive alien fleet that just did a major attack on Earth, actually did a good job of making that dumbass line of Troy’s in the first episode of Megaforce sound a lot better in the long run. I also thought the decision to save the resolution of Vrak’s storyline for late in Super Megaforce was actually a good idea, since we can assume that nearly a year went by to give him enough time to plan out and prepare for his revenge on the Rangers, and chose the perfect time to do so. And, of course, there’s the Legendary Rangers. While I wish we had gotten more of these throughout the season, it was great seeing Casey and Jayden come back to give the team encouragement when they needed it. And while I originally said that I’d wished Lauren was the one to appear, looking back on the video packages shown for Casey and Jayden made me realize something: They were specifically picked and shown to demonstrate how these characters grew to be who they are, and how the challenges and obstacles they helped overcome specifically allowed them to give the right guidance to the current Rangers in dealing with their own problems. If we’d gotten more of that for this season, would’ve made it all the better, and would’ve made it a far more fluid celebration of the show’s longevity, as we see the development of other Rangers as characters and giving them a chance to pass on their wisdom and experience to the current crop.
So, if I like all of these elements of the show, why am I so angry, and what makes Super Megaforce such a disappointment? Ultimately, it comes down to execution, and HOW the story developed. Like I said, IF we had gotten more moments with the Legendary Rangers, we’d have had a much better season. Guess what? We only had two of ’em make appearances, and then a bunch who appeared at the very end to save random people and fight in the final battle. And for the record, having Tommy show up for the final battle and then not actually see much, if any, of him in the fight is not good enough. I did not wait two years for this epic battle just to see random hits on baddies dubbed over with the Megaforce Rangers spouting clunky exposition, and then finish it all off with the team blasting a random bunch of X-Borgs. And while I am glad that the final bout with Emperor Mavro WAS kept in for the extended version of the finale (extended because God knows we can’t take up SpongeBob SquarePants’ TV time, so it had to be cut down to size to make room for a cartoon LONG past its expiration date), the fight really should’ve been saved for AFTER the mass of X-Borgs, and rather than being a battle between him and the Super Megaforce Rangers in Legendary Mode, they should’ve instead changed it up so that he’s fighting the real Rangers all bunched up to take him on at once, having to use all their powers together to finally take this conqueror of worlds and galaxies down as a team.
The biggest thing that drove me crazy all season long was the lack of explanations. Really, it started in Megaforce, but the worst of it was in Super Megaforce. Where DO the Legendary Ranger Keys come from? How were they created? Now, I assumed from the beginning that they were copies of the previous Rangers’ powers, hence why the Legendary Rangers never helped the team in a more active sense and why going Legendary Mode was so hard for the team. Remember, it’s been established in Ranger canon that two or more of the same Ranger cannot exist simultaneously, or else it could cause the power to fluctuate and even cause harm to the ones using it. However, we’re told near the end that the Legendary Rangers supposedly gave them their powers…except we never saw that, nor was there ever a single line suggesting as much beforehand. Does that mean that none of the previous Rangers have their powers as long as the Super Megaforce team have the keys? And if so, how were they able to morph in the end? Did Gosei give the keys back for the final battle? Because if that’s true, that means they were all standing by in that area for Mavro to go down before they could do anything, meaning they stood by while the Rangers engaged a monster that very nearly almost destroyed them. And just from a logical standpoint, wouldn’t it make more sense, if all of the previous Rangers had their powers, even those who had lost them before, to be out in battle with the current Rangers, like in the final battle? Wouldn’t that have ended things a lot easier and with a lot less damage and possible people dying? What about the other teams never before seen in Power Rangers canon up until now? Who were they, and what were their stories? We have team names for them, fine, but what about anything REAL about them, like where they came from and who they were? How did Robo Knight come back for the final battle when he died and gave his power to Orion? Why doesn’t Gosei ever explain a Goddamn thing to his team unless confronted about stuff he never told them?! Why was the Silver Ranger Key and its Morpher sealed away on some random planet for Orion to find?! Why aren’t Titanium Ranger’s powers used for Legendary Sixth Ranger Mode instead of White Dino Ranger, who was the FIFTH Ranger of his team?! Why does Corinth look NOTHING like it did before?! Why did Doctor K make a new Zord that was apparently sentient?! Why did they reuse footage of Mia and Antonio’s concert instead of just having them show up?! Did it honest to God never occur to anyone that Super Mega Mode makes them look like pirates?! Why did they hire someone to do a cover of Go Go Power Rangers instead of contacting Ron Wasserman?! GAAAAHHH!!!
…*inhales hard*… …ANYway…Like I said before, the actors do the best with what’s given to them, and the characters are all decent enough in their own right, aside from Jake being a frigging creeper. However, the problem is that, in the end, they don’t really have much, if any dimension to them. The only time we ever get anything different out of the characters, it usually comes right the frak outta left field with no rhyme or reason behind it. Like, Noah deciding to fight a monster alone. It makes no sense for him as a character to behave this way. Or Jake being made into a clumsy oaf, despite being physically fit, energetic, and good at sports. Really, it just comes down to their characters shifting to match source material footage from Gokaiger, making them more like their counterparts, without any logical development leading to these changes. And then there’s Gosei. Again, my biggest complaint is how he never explains anything to his team, but more disappointingly, we never learn of his time spent with Zordon. We know he’s his apprentice or the like, but really, we never get any reflection on that, or him wondering if he’s living up to his example. Ironically, the episode I felt Gosei was at his best was an episode I otherwise hate: In The Driver’s Seat, which was a terrible representation of RPM. In this episode, not only does he explain situations to the Rangers to the best of his ability, but we also see him questioning what the right course of action is. It shows a more vulnerable side to the character, in that he doesn’t always know what he’s doing, but sometimes has to just go with what he thinks is right and believe in his team.
But the biggest let-down of all is probably Troy, which ultimately is the biggest lack of an explanation I’ve ever seen, and basically makes him a walking plot device. The reason he didn’t make it to my list of least favourite Rangers is because Jake bothers me on a more personal level, and Troy comes off as more selflessly heroic. However, with Super Megaforce being over, and this team’s story given what little resolution we can hope for, at least for now, we have to discuss Troy. Again, in the spirit of not explaining a Goddamn thing this season, we never learn how or why Troy kept having visions of the Legendary Battle, especially since we can infer from his initial appearances that he’d never seen or heard of the Power Rangers beforehand (must’ve been super young and on the other side of the planet during Dark Spectre’s invasion, I guess). Also, there’s…this.
I just have this wonderful image of Jonathan Tzachor constantly telling Andrew Gray “No, it’s not good enough! You must ham it up more! MOOOOORRRRRREEEE!”, and then finally Andrew gives up and just decides to give the most over the top performance he possibly could, and Tzachor just sheds a tear and is like “My life’s work, complete”. And before anyone asks, yes, almost this exact scene played out in Goseiger. With that said, I find it funny that a guy who loves the Sentai as much as Tzachor claims to pays zero attention to the details of it and how story elements made sense there. In Goseiger, Gosei Knight had been overwhelmed with dark energy that had corrupted him, so Gosei Red summoned up all of his energy as an angel (yes, in Goseiger, the team were angels, and I’ll get more into that later) and punched Gosei Knight hard enough to transfer that energy to him, flushing out the dark energy and restoring him to normal. And even if you wanna say that’s what Troy did, little problem: He’s HUMAN! He has no powers beyond those granted to him as a Ranger, and he is not morphed in this scene! I kept expecting them to explain what the hell Troy’s deal was and how he apparently had precognitive abilities and whatever the fuck he just did to Robo Knight, and they NEVER ONCE EXPLAINED IT! It was his whole schtick, and it was never given any kind of resolution!
And yeah, speaking of which, that’s the other major problem I have: The ending. Or rather, the fact that there is no ending for these characters. They beat the bad guys, they lay in the sand for a while, they get up to go wander off, Jake gets a kiss from Gia (and presumably goes off into the woods to jack off, if I had to guess), and Troy sticks a Super Mega Saber in the sand as a marker for where the Legendary Battle took place…Oh, and I THINK that Orion and Emma hooked up, not sure. End credits. Now, I do admit to not actually seeing anything more than clips of the extended version of the episode posted online, since I don’t have Nick (nor do I wish to), I couldn’t watch it on their site without it crapping out on me, and last I checked, it wasn’t on Netflix (and if it is, please tell me so I can go watch it, since it’s at least a vast improvement on the original version). So, maybe there was more after that scene, but I’ve asked some people who saw it and they told me there wasn’t, so I’m going to assume that’s the case. And yes, I’m aware that PR has had anti-climactic non-endings to seasons before with no final resolution to said season’s cast…and I hated them too, so don’t think I’m just singling out Super Megaforce. Hell, Samurai had a better ending, with the team discussing their future plans and Jayden looking into new things to do with his life now that his mission was finally over. And I’ll get more into THAT later on too, trust me.
So, when all is said and done, no, Super Megaforce is NOT the worst season of Power Rangers ever. So congratulations, Jonathan Tzachor, for you couldn’t even succeed at that. I hope you NEVER come back to work on this show, and that Judd Lynn gets to keep your job forever, In Chip We Trust. Hell, just looking at the trailer for Dino Charge, I can already tell it’s gonna be a lot better than the past four years, and is actually gonna have the first original villain produced for Power Rangers in YEARS. However, I will give Tzachor this much: He’s not the only problem that plagued the Neo Saban Era. Nickelodeon’s interference with the show and failure to promote it in the right way has been hell for the people producing it, as well as for the fans. I can only hope that something changes in the future, because otherwise, even with Chip in charge, it’s gonna be an uphill battle to get PR back to the level it used to be at.
Anyway, that’s my rant. However, we’re not done talking about Super Megaforce. Check in again soon, when I talk about some of the things I would’ve done differently with this season, what my original idea for the Megaforce Rangers and their story was when I first heard Goseiger would be adapted, and some more of the things I legitimately liked about the last two seasons. Ja né!